The Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) are committed to providing members with the highest quality educational resources to support you in meeting your Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements. Please visit the American College of Surgeons State CME Requirements page to review the Pennsylvania CME Requirements and to find relevant CME opportunities.
As the curve begins to flatten and hospitals and surgeons’ offices resume offering elective procedures, the COVID-19 Communications Committee has set its sights on new opportunities.
The Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates has served the community of health care providers well during the acute phase of this pandemic. Going forward, the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates will evolve to a new e-newsletter, Bulletin Brief. This new weekly communications vehicle will continue to provide updates on important advances the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other stakeholders are making to assist you in providing optimal care for the duration of the pandemic, but also will include the latest information on other ACS activities and news.
Bulletin Brief will replace this newsletter and the weekly ACS NewsScope that you traditionally have received on Thursday night. It will be distributed Tuesday nights and will combine all the elements of both newsletters in a reader-friendly and responsive format.
Read the complete update here
New patient registry is also now available to all hospitals willing to capture meaningful data about their COVID-19 patients
CHICAGO (April 17, 2020): Today, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) released a new surgical resource document, “Local Resumption of Elective Surgery Guidance,” as a guide for health care facilities preparing to resume elective surgery once the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has peaked in their area.
Health care facilities have been allocating their resources to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ACS, and other organizations issued a mid-March call to curtail elective procedures in the midst of the rising pandemic. Since then, elective operations have been postponed or canceled, and many facilities are now looking ahead to prepare to safely resume these procedures for patients whose medical conditions warrant surgical treatment.
ACS recognizes that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on local communities or facilities is a spectrum, and therefore suggests that facilities use the guidance document to ensure several pertinent issues have been considered before elective surgery begins. It’s important for facilities to first check compliance with their state's executive orders and regulations as well.
ACS offers a set of principles and issues to help local facilities plan for resumption of elective surgical care, and states in the document, “Understanding both the local facility capabilities (e.g. beds, testing, operating rooms) as well as potential constraints (e.g. workforce, supply chain), while keeping an eye on potential subsequent waves of COVID will continue to be important.”
Ten distinct issues—in four categories—are presented in the document that need to be addressed at the local level before elective surgery may be resumed safely:
The guidance document is available for free download here.
Although this document, “Local Resumption of Elective Surgery Guidance,” provides principles to help local facilities safely resume procedures after COVID-19 peaks locally, there is still much work to be done. While COVID-19 cases may have peaked in certain areas, the virus is still circulating and there is much we don’t know about the etiology and progression of the disease.
To address this problem, the ACS has developed the ACS COVID-19 Registry, which is now available to all hospitals willing to capture meaningful data about the COVID-19 patients they treat. The ACS has a long history of developing and maintaining clinical data registries, including decades of experience with data collection and improving patient care. The overarching priority of the ACS COVID-19 Registry is to collect meaningful patient data for a disease that is largely unknown. More information can be found here.
MOST INTERESTING CASE PRESENTATIONS
The competition is open to all general surgery residents and surgical specialty residents. Medical students are not eligible. Having presented at the national level is not a disqualifier to submitting an abstract.
Send two copies of each abstract to be presented (one blind copy with only the paper’s title for judging and one version with the principal author’s name, institution, phone, and e-mail address) to the SW PA Chapter Office by Friday, May 1st, 2020 The abstracts will be reviewed with a number being selected for presentation at the May 27th event. Each selected presenter will be notified shortly thereafter.
Presentations will be judged by a panel of surgeons with cash prizes awarded to the top three “Most Interesting Cases.” 1st Place $500, 2nd Place $300, 3rd Place $200
The “Most Interesting” case will be submitted for publication in the ACS Case Reviews in Surgery.
The recently launched ACS Case Reviews in Surgery (ACS Case Reviews) publishes case reports in various surgical specialties six times a year. The content of each case report should be something of interest to practicing surgeons and describe experiences that may not be routinely seen or was treated in a unique fashion. Case reports that involve patients who have common surgical problems—where the clinical presentation and/or challenges of management produced knowledge and insights that have educational value—are also worthy of submission to ACS Case Reviews. Case reports will be reviewed with the understanding that the work has not been published by, and is not under consideration at, any other journal. All manuscripts are peer reviewed.
As per submission guidelines, residents can submit to ACS Case Reviews if an ACS Fellow is included as one of the case report authors. Chapters would judge submitted entries and the winner of the competition would receive guaranteed review of the publication in ACS Case Reviews and a free one-year subscription to the journal (annual subscriptions are $125 with CME and $75 without CME).
SPECIFICATIONS FOR PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
The details of the May 27th Chapter meeting are still to be determined. The event may be virtual depending upon the state of COVID-19. Those whose abstracts are selected will be provided with details regarding the presentation of their abstract at the Chapter meeting.
Abstracts are to be submitted to MIC2020@acms.org. Any questions, please contact Jim Ireland at 412/321-5030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the guidelines
In anticipation that the COVID-19 crisis will continue to escalate throughout the U.S., Operation Giving Back has devised a plan to collect names of available volunteers, identify their skill sets, and map this information where it may be used for rendering medical assistance in areas of need. If you are willing to volunteer in any capacity, please take the COVID-19: How Can I Help? survey and we will contact you if your skill set(s) match the needs for potential opportunities. Do not hesitate to let us know areas of acute need that may arise in your area as well.As you may know, many states have recognized the need for additional aide and have called on volunteer health care professionals to serve in their communities during this unprecedented time. As a result, licenses have been expedited and temporarily reinstated, telehealth policies have loosened, and state volunteer portals have been created to streamline workforce reentry, to list a few. We encourage you to review ACS’s COVID-19 State Volunteer Resources page to learn where you are able to implement your skill sets based on these temporary policy changes.
The ACS wants to hear how COVID-19 is impacting you, both professionally and personally. Share your story or experience to help ensure the College can continue to advocate on your behalf. And spread the word via social media. To amplify access to our information, the College has registered #ACSCOVID19 with Symplur Healthcare Hashtags. Use #ACSCOVID19 in all social media messages and to link those messages to ACS communications.
This week, the American College of Surgeons issued guidelines on triage of patients undergoing elective cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, hospital leadership and individual providers are facing increasingly difficult decisions about how to conserve critical resources, such as hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) beds, respirators, and transfusion capacity, as well as protective gear (PPE) that is vital for protecting patients and staff from unnecessary exposure and intrahospital transmission. While nothing will replace sound medical judgement and local adjudication, it has generally been advised that hospitals discontinue elective surgery, and guidance on the triage of nonemergent surgical procedures during the pandemic is available. Guidance on the triage of elective surgery is based on an Elective Surgery Acuity Scale provided by Sameer Siddiqui, MD, FACS, of St. Louis University.
Triage guidelines contained herewith add another level of specificity on triage of elective cancer surgery patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information is intended to help institutions and providers who are facing a rising burden of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and a higher prevalence of community infection. Not all cancer conditions can be outlined; this document will focus on how to manage the more common cancer types during the pandemic.
Read complete article
In addition to the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 newsletter we are sending to members, we are also rapidly sharing information related to your practice as we have it. To that end, the ACS Washington team has identified information regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on Friday, that provides some pathways for physicians to obtain financial assistance for their practices. We know many of you want to apply for this assistance if you are experiencing financial strains on your practice related to COVID-19.
First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) has recently expanded the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program. Surgeons and others may request advanced Medicare payments to address cash flow issues based on historical payments. More information about this program can be found here and here.
In addition, relief for small businesses, including those run by physicians, was included in the $2 trillion CARES Act legislation. The provisions include the appropriation of $562 million for Economic Injury Disaster Loans to ensure that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has adequate resources to assist businesses in need.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support designed to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners in all fifty states, Washington, DC, and U.S. territories are eligible to apply.
The CARES Act clarified that eligibility would be for those businesses of 500 employees or less at each business location.
Fellows may learn more about Economic Injury Disaster Loans and find the appropriate applications here.
ACS continues to support all our surgeons who are serving their communities in the COVID-19 crisis and curtailing their normal clinical practices. ACS continues to remind the White House, Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to support our surgeons so that when we recover from COVID-19, our surgical practices will recover, too.
Director, Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP)
Patrick V. Bailey, MD, FACS
Medical Director, Advocacy, DAHP
Frank Opelka, MD, FACS
Medical Director, Quality and Health Policy, DAHP
David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS
Executive Director, ACS
The American College of Surgeons website is constantly being updated with useful resources to help us deal with personal and professional challenges in this trying time. Visit facs.org/COVID-19.
Members are receiving the twice-weekly Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates newsletter from the Executive Leadership of the College.
RAS-ACS is organizing weekly "hangouts" to allow a forum for students, trainees, and young surgeons to share stories, best practices from our institutions, and to have an opportunity to just connect with each other and have a support network, as we deal with these new challenges. Information about how to connect will be posted in our newsletter, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Given the disruption to education and training, we are also organizing weekly educational sessions for students and residents. The schedule can be found online and make sure to check @RASACS on Twitter for content updates.
It is important to be prepared for the potential need to operate on a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) person under investigation (PUI) or a COVID-19 patient. Preparation of a specific operating room (OR) and detailed education of the entire OR team who will be providing care for these patients during their procedure is imperative, without using stock protective equipment. The specific roles and responsibilities of all OR team members must be clear, with a common goal of minimizing the spread of infection to health care workers.
Following are links to infographics from other sources that offer additional salient details:
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